Her art and activism are profoundly connected, fueling a life-long commitment to visibility and preserving the legacy of LGBTQI+ and communities of colour worldwide.
At the core of this exhibition is Flash’s series [sur]passing. Emphasising varying shades of skin tone, these larger-than-life portraits feature a spectrum of global diasporic figures posed against urban skylines - probing the impact of pigmentation on black identity and consciousness.
The scale of each photograph and the assertive gaze of the sitters invite contemplation of different lived experiences. Flash aims to foreground the complexities encompassing racial identities, and highlight the prejudices faced by black communities based on complexion.
Flash’s work first came to prominence in the late 1980s as she documented the work of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, known as ACT UP, an international direct action advocacy group. An active member, Flash captured demonstrations that took place in New York, Washington DC and London, and marched in solidarity alongside her peers. She developed her signature cross-colour style during this time, seeking to subvert perceptions of race and representation through the inversion of colours in her photographs.
These bold and experimental early works from Cross Colour and Gay to Z will be on display alongside her ongoing series LEGENDS - portraits of prominent members of queer and non-gender conforming communities. New portraits of London LEGENDS will be shown for the first time, including artists and activists Ajamu X, Campbell X, MC Chicaboo, Sunil Gupta, Sadie Lee, Robert Taylor and Peter Tatchell.
Flash’s practice is firmly rooted in social justice advocacy, inviting an open-ended, intersectional conversation around sexual, racial and cultural difference.
This is Lola Flash’s first major solo exhibition in London.
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England